Last weekend my friend invited me to go to the Texas Teen Book Festival, at first I was reluctant to go because I had heard book con was more of a marketing type of event and that it applied to all book related conventions. My attitude changed when I saw that the author of the soon to be released Ahsoka book by E.K. Johnston would be there and I became giddy discovering Mindy Kaling would be there as well. Sadly I did not get an autograph from Mindy Kaling or to even ask my question and give her a drawing I did of her high fiving her animated counterpart Disgust from the movie Inside Out. On a side note, I got E.K. Johnston to fangirl with a drawing of Ahsoka Tano and in return she gave me a sticker to place on my copy of the Ahsoka book coming out October Eleventh. I’m buying each edition.
This isn’t about meeting super famous celebrities or making authors fangirl though; today I’m reviewing the lgbt book The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren by Cody Wagner. I encountered this book partially by chance and partially by a failed attempt at flirting. I discovered the book when I saw a man wearing a tshirt with a pikachu cosplaying as Harry Potter and I thought That is such a cute shirt, holy crap someone taller than me! I must take a photo with him! Upon approaching Cody Wagner he was very sweet and we had a small quick conversation and he told me about his book The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren.
I knew I had to have it because 1. I am a member of the lgbt community and 2. it sounded like the type of story I felt was missing from lgbt stories. Also there were lots of hugs between us (like seriously none of you have no idea what it’s like to be taller than most of your friends and meet someone taller than you).
Possible Spoilers concerning The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren, I will try to provide as few spoilers as possible.
I will admit I didn’t like the start of the book because it is a coming out story gone horribly wrong. I have nothing against coming out stories, I’ve just read and seen alot of them. As soon as our protagonist Blaize gets to Sanctuary Preparatory Academy the story actually takes off. I was also happy to see that only the start of the book had gayngst.
Much to mine and the character’s surprises the boarding school is far from the ‘pray the gay away’ type of story I was expecting, and most of the mental complaints I had about the characters made sense by the end of the book (these ARE teenagers after all..)
I was actually very happy to see how the story played out and how both sexuality and the main antagonist was more background noise than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, homosexuality is a big deal in the book, but aside from the beginning none of the characters make a big deal about being gay. They are normal teenagers who do normal teenage things and deal with normal teenage issues like peer pressure and bullying.
I was actually very happy the topic of bullying was approached in the book and that sadly no matter what school you are going to it is there and sadly kids and teens don’t take it as seriously as they should. However I do like how the protagonists handle this issue and rather than approaching said bullies in a confrontational way they take the higher road and are the better person.
Also to my relief and shock the topic of romance doesn’t come up too often and things I expected didn’t happen, to which I am very pleased. Cody Wagner did a very good job of keeping surprises as subtle as possible.
I highly encourage reading The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren, you can buy it Here. Do it, right now!
I give the Gay Teen’s Guide Guide to Defeating a Siren five Healing Hamburgers out of five.